“But he answered, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
After he had fasted and prayed forty days and forty nights, Jesus got hungry and then the devil came to test him. So the Bible calls him the tempter in such meaning to show that this is the devil’s principal work (Matthew 4:3). He had probably been secretly and inwardly tempting and taking advantage of the solitary and lonely condition Jesus was in. What the devil didn’t know was that Jesus was on guard and with every attack, Jesus sought shelter in the word of God as the weapon of choice against him. He baffled all the temptations of Satan with, It is written.
Jesus himself being God could have produced the mind of God without referring to the written scripture of Moses but to set an example to us and appeal to what was written in law he used the word. The word of God is the word of the spirit, all the other vitals in our armour as believers are defensive. Nonetheless, the word of the Lord is the offensive weapon in the armoury (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus’ words of “it is written” are in perfect tense; meaning it has been written and stands written. These words are an assertion of the authority of scripture and how potent it is no matter the time and age. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “out flashed the sword of the spirit: our lord will fight with no other weapon. He could have spoken a new revelation but still he chose to say; ‘it is written’”.
The enemy will usually take advantage of our circumstances just after we have been remarkably favoured. Jesus had just been called the son of God during his baptism. These temptations then make us plausible and often it seems as if we are being urged to do what is good and proper. A young mother might gladly join prostitution after her newly married man has died while a young man will drink himself to death because of losing a job. Bread represents man’s idea of nourishment but it does not mean that it is the only thing required for man’s sustenance. His citation of what Moses said to the Israelites in the wilderness is a testament that it takes the constant stream of any word(s) proceeding from the mouth of God. His word can define a new good livelihood for man as bread and maintain him.
This is reminding us that even in our great abundance we must not think to live without God. When the fig tree does not blossom, or the fields yield nothing, when every ordinary means of support is cut off, we must be thankful for every word that flows from God. Every perfect gift is from above and comes down from God who never changes. Our priority therefore must be God’s will and word. Obedience to his word and not seeking to act independently of Him is what is of great value and importance in the eyes of the lord. May the Lord help us to live his word.
King James Version (KJV)
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
New International Version (NIV)
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“But he answered, ‘It is written, One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
New American Bible (NASB)
“But He answered and said, ‘It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.'”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“But he answered, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“But Jesus told him, ‘No! For the Scriptures tell us that bread won’t feed men’s souls: obedience to every word of God is what we need.'”
Live The Word
This is an awesome verse. We are to live by ‘every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Not just a verse here and there, but all that Christ has commanded us. We are to live by that Word. Our own words are part of our witness. But when our walk matches our words, and all this is in accord, that is when we start to Live by the Word. I love to say ‘Live The Word’. Don’t just say it, but live it.